In 1839, Alexander de Becquerel, French scientist observed the photovoltaic effect of a phenomenon i.e. the event onset voltage between electrode due to electromagnetic radiation of the light source. This research was continued by Charles Fritts, the first to use semiconductor selenium with thin gold to convert solar energy into electrical energy which is called solar cells (solar cell) in 1883. A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity between the insulator and conductor.
Principles for converting light into energy is done by nature through the process of photosynthesis, where green foliage on the plant converts sunlight into energy in order to grow. In 1960, the company named Hoffman Electronics manufactures solar cells with an efficiency of 14%. Recent developments in 2016 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Department of energy of the USA managed to make solar cells with efficiency of 40.8%.
In June 2017, China Merchants New Energy, a renewable energy company based in Hong Kong, managed to build Solar power stations (PLTS) first Panda-shaped on 250 acres of land in Datong, Shanxi province, China. This Panda-shaped PLTS proposed in 2016 by Panda Green Energy Group, which is a subsidiary of the China Merchants of New Energy. The company’s target is to build 2 PLTS Panda-shaped at the end of the year 2017. The capacity of the electricity generated from both the PLTS is 100 MW. In the last 5 years, China has become the leading country that produces solar cells and build PLTS beat USA, Japan and Germany.
Figure 1. The electricity production capacity of PLTS in some countries
From the above data, China has been producing electricity of 77.4 GW of PLTS and at the end of the year 2017 will be built new PLTS to produce electricity of 34.5 GW so that the total production of electricity China from PLTS amounted to 111.9 GW. Panda Green Energy Group has development programs 100 PLTS shaped Panda within five years. This program will generate electricity amounting to 3.2 million GWh in the 25 years that are able to supply electricity to more than 10,000 homes annually. In addition, Panda-shaped PLTS 100 programs can reduce the use of coal as much 1.056 million tonnes and reduce carbon emissions by as much as 2.74 million tons.
Figure 2. Panda-shaped PLTS in Datong, China
In the world, there are three types of solar cells are the most commonly used i.e. monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon and thin films. On PLTS Panda, monocrystalline silicon solar cell type is used to indicate the color black and kind of thin film solar cells is used to indicate the color of ash. Basic principles of solar cells in generating electricity is when the occurrence of electron excitation processes in semiconductor layer because it is exposed to the glow of the Sun. Electrons will trigger voltage and produces an electric current.
Figure 3. The working principle of a solar cell
In the development of PLTS Panda, China Merchants New Energy works closely with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This program is part of the mega project of Belt and Road through the Silk Road to establish cooperation with several countries. China is expected to spend money amounting to $150 billion for the partnership with 68 countries either in Europe or Asia who has approved programs that are on the mega projects and Belt Road. The power plant including a top priority of the project and any ambition to build China PLTS Pandas in different countries. In may 2017, Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji, attending a forum of international cooperation “Belt and Road” in China and hopes construction of the PLTS Panda immediately implemented in the countries of the South Pacific Islands, particularly Fiji. Panda-shaped PLTS development programme aimed at raising awareness of youth about China renewable energy and Pandas chosen as a form of PLTS because Panda has become an icon of climate change and peace.
Figure 4. Panda-shaped PLTS sketch in Fiji